Leia este post em português. I am an IT Manager with around 18 years of IT experience. During this time, I worked as a software engineer in government departments, as an IT consultant for the United Nations and, during the last few years, as an IT manager in a multinational company. I live with my wife in Porto Alegre, south of Brazil.
The good thing about innovation is that everyone is always trying to reach it or work with it. You will never see someone saying something like "My job is very boring – all we do is innovate and innovate". As a manager, I know how important is to stimulate people to think "outside-of-the-box", to innovate, and to find new ways to do things (sometimes, new ways to do the same task). Innovation not only results in ideas that can solve problems in an easier way, but it encourages people to keep learning and stay self-motivated in their day-to-day activities.
The first time I ever heard about InnoCentive was when I read Tribo do Mouse blog and in the Wikinomics book. I was thrilled with the idea of companies having a place to post Challenges for the world to solve. Even if you think of huge companies, like GE (that has more than 300K employees) and Siemens (with more than 400K employees), they cannot afford to retain the best people in the world to think about a specific problem, and that is the beauty of InnoCentive's idea.
When I first accessed the site, I found one Challenge whose objective was to increase collaboration within InnoCentive. Since it was one the topics that I liked the most, I was glad to join as a Solver and send a solution. My solution was chosen as one of the winning Solutions. Although IT was not a common topic at that time, with new partners like SAP start using the site, I am seeing more and more IT-related Challenges, and I'm ready to post new solutions.
These days, you must reinvent your self every 4 or 6 years. I am 35 years old, but when I started work, the culture and the way our performance was evaluated was totally different. For example, work from home and ROWE (Results Only Work Environment - from Best Buy) didn't exist. To me, solving a Challenge is not just about money, it is about being able to use my creativity, keep myself motivated and open minded. To know that I am able to win a Challenge proves that I am still a valuable resource to the market, and all that I need to do is keep reading and learning. What better way to do that, than find a Challenge, learn more about the subject and post a solution?